Common Sense Review
Updated December 2013


Info-rich site could use detailed performance tracking tools
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Individual sections list related videos, games, and other content.
  • Parents and teachers can see kids browsing history; however, accessing scores can be difficult.
  • Educational materials include links to related content and space for kids to jot down notes.
  • The site's Curriculum Explorer tools identifie which videos correlate to a state's educational standards.
  • Cosmeo's extras include more than 27,000 articles, links to educator-approved websites, math instruction, and clip art.
Kids can access a variety of learning materials, including videos, exercises, and games; adults can monitor their activity.
The site has a monthly fee, multiple plug-ins are required, and only teachers can see standards-alignment information.
Bottom Line
Cosmeo offers plenty of content but would be a stronger resource if users could get better feedback about scores and progress.
Erin Brereton
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4
Videos, articles, educational games, and more all help kids learn in different ways. Some activities personalize learning with real-world activities that are accessible to most any student.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4
Kids learn about grade-specific concepts in science, math, social studies, health, art, music, and language arts. Several activities offer feedback, and students can save notes as they work.
Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3
The Extras section has games, clip art for illustrating reports, links to educator-approved websites, and the Curriculum Explorer tool, which helps search for videos by grade, topic, and curriculum standard.
About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Use Cosmeo to encourage students to do extra reading about certain topics, or utilize the site's practice exercises outside of class. You could also show the site's videos during class as a way to support curriculum-based lessons. If students are using the site on their own, controls allow teachers block certain words from searches and monitor students' viewing history on the site.

Teachers who are very familiar with their state's standards with will likely have an easier time using Cosmeo; subtopics correlate to various standards, but the site's videos are the only items that are clearly identified by standard.

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What's It Like?

Billed as an online homework-help service, the Discovery Channel's Cosmeo has a plethora of material to help kids extend learning beyond the classroom, including interactive games, videos, slideshows, tutorials, and other educational items. Students (presumably along with their parents) must register with the site in order to access the home page and resources.

Content is grouped by subject area (science, math, social studies, English, health, art, and music), and every section also contains additional, more specific topics. For example, if you click on chemistry in the science section, you'll also see a list of more specific subjects, like molecules and compounds. Users can also view content by grade level groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12). Once logged in, students' main pages will also display a number of clickable extra features, like links to games, explorations, videos, and a "Today in History" section.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Cosmeo's varied materials present information in diverse, often personalized ways. Interactive exercises help kids practice a variety of academic skills. Many of the exercises include a lesson on the topic, as well as feedback to kids' responses. Users can easily save videos, articles, and other items to a folder to organize research. A number of sections list related videos for extra instruction, and kids can jot down on-screen notes for future reference.

Controls let teachers and parents block content, as well as view a child's access history, if desired. The site claims to display kids' game scores; however, functionality here seems a bit shaky. For teachers, more specific and detailed reports on students' use would be a very useful tool. Some of the games require extra plug-ins, and while site is optimized for Windows, Mac users may not have the smoothest experience. With limits on registration for free student accounts, some teachers may hesitate to use the site. Nevertheless, for a limited number of students -- or those with their own access -- Cosmeo can be a helpful resource for extended learning and support.

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